HARISBURG – Last year, area deer hunters who hunt the mountains of northern Schuylkill County and other areas of Wildlife Management Unit 4E were affected by a regulation passed by the Pennsylvania Game Commission board of game commission that was designed to increase the size of the herd.
That regulation limited the first five days of the firearms season to taking only antlered deer, with concurrent antlered and antlerless hunting opening the first Saturday and continuing the second week of the season. That regulation will remain for the 2011-12 hunting season, and in addition the board of commissioners took another step at this month's quarterly meeting designed to increase the herd by authorizing 29,000 antlerless licenses to be issued for WMU 4E.
PGC biologist Chris Rosenberry, who heads the agency deer and elk management programs, had recommended that the herd be stabilized in WMU 4E and that 35,000 antlerless licenses be allocated. In setting the antlerless allocation at 29,000 to increase the herd the BOC compromised with its management team.
In submitting its antlerless recommendations, the management team suggested that issuing 25,000 antlerless licenses was the target number to increase the herd, but the BOC approved 4,000 more than recommended. An allotment of 44,000 antlerless licenses was recommended if the goal was to decrease the herd.
Last year, 26,899 antlerless tags were purchased by hunters for WMU 4E, which also contains Northumberland County and a large portion of Columbia County. Hunters took 5,923 antlerless deer in 4E during the 2010-11 seasons, which is less than the 6,287 taken during the 2009-10 seasons.
WMU 4E is one of 11 that will have the 5-7 split in days of antlered only and concurrent antlered and antlerless hunting during the firearms season, which begins Monday, Nov. 28. Concurrent antlered and antlerless hunting in 4E opens Saturday, Dec. 2, and continues Monday-Saturday, Dec. 4-10.
Other WMUs affected by the 5-7 split are 2A, 2C, 2D, 2E, 2F, 2G, 3B, 3C, 4B and 4D. A two-week concurrent, antlered and antlerless season will be held in WMUs 1A, 1B, 2B, 3A, 3D, 4A, 4C, 5A, 5B, 5C and 5D.
Hunters with DMAP antlerless deer permits may use them on the lands for which they were issued during any established deer season, including the 11 WMUs with the 5-7 split season. While the 11-11 split in WMUs having 12 days of concurrent antlered and antlerless deer hunting and those having a 5-7 split reduces the numbers of days to take an antlerless deer, input from hunters indicates support for the split.
Antlerless deer can still be taken during archery and October muzzleloader seasons in all WMUs, and flintlock and late-season ar